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withoutitsaccompanyingnote(seeil-

lustration).

Thenoteexplainsthatthespikecame

fromthefrigateConstitution,oneofthe

sixoriginalfrigatesauthorizedforcon-

structionbytheNavalActof1794.

Alsoknownas“OldIronsides,”the

Constitutionistheoldestcommissioned

shipafloatintheworldandstillmakes

briefvoyagesinMassachusettsBay

today.

Theshipwasconstructedbetween

1794and1797,andRevere’srecords

showthathechargedover$3,800to

outfitthevesselwithcopperfastenings.

Undoubtedly,Revere’sexperience

withworkingsilverandgold,selling

importedhardwareandrunninga

foundryinspiredhimtopursuehis

greatestbusinessventure.

In1800,attheageof65,Revere

startedamillinCanton,Massachusetts,

forrollingsheetcopper.

Uptothatpoint,Americanswerede-

pendentuponimportedsheetcopper

fromEngland.

Theprimaryuseforthismaterialat

thetimewasprotectiveplatingonthe

bottomofships.Copperinhibitedma-

rinegrowththatcoulddamageand

slowtheships.

Sheetcopperwasalsousedonthe

roofsofpublicbuildings.Revere

wantedtobethefirstsuccessfulAmer-

icanproducerofsheetcopper;anam-

bitionthathedidrealize.

Using$25,000ofhisownmoney

alongwith$10,000fromtheU.S.gov-

ernment,Reverepurchasedproperty

ontheNeponsetRiverinCantonand

startedhisenterprise.

TheGrandLodgecollectionincludes

amodeloftherollermachineusedto

pressthecopperintosmoothsheeting.

By1801,hewasabletowriteto

RobertSmith,secretaryoftheNavy,“I

haveerectedmyworksandhaverolled

sheetcopperwhichisapprovedofby

thebestjudgesasbeingequaltothe

bestcoldrolledcopper.”

Oneofhisfirstorderswasfor6,000

feetofcoppersheathingtocoverthe

domeofthenewStateHouse.

Soonafter,Revereproducedcopper

sheetingfortheroofofSt.Stephen’s

Church.St.Stephen’s,locatedin

Boston’sNorthEnd,wasdesignedby

CharlesBullfinchin1802.

Afragmentofthissheetingiscur-

rentlyintheGrandLodgecollection,

alongwithfournailsfromthechurch

thatweresupposedlymadeatRevere’s

forge.

Thefragmentofcoppersheetinghas

remnantsofgoldpaintorgoldleafon

oneside,apopulartreatmentforroof

domesatthetime.

Despitedecadesofleadershipwithin

theMasonicbodiesofMassachusetts,

Reveresignificantlydecreasedhisin-

volvementafterhistermasGrandMas-

terwascompletedin1797.

Unfortunately,thereislittleevidence

tosuggestwhyReverestoppedactively

participatingandfailedtohaveaMa-

sonicfuneralwhenhediedin1818.

Mostlikelyhisintenseinvolvement

withhiscopperrollingmillfrom1800to

1811,requiringhimtospendmostof

histimeintheCantoncountryside,im-

pededhisabilitytoattendmeetings.

In1811,Revereretiredfromactive

operationandmanagementofhismill,

givingcontroltohisson.

Atthattime,afterelevenyearsinex-

istence,thecompanywasworthover

$50,000.

WhileRevere’sbeautifulsilverbowls

andMasonicjewelsarewellknown

todayitistheinnocuouseveryday

itemssuchasthediplomaforJoseph

WallesJr.,thespikefromthefrigate

Constitution,andthefragmentofcop-

persheetingfromSt.Stephen’sChurch

thathelpusunderstandthejourney

fromartisantogentlemanthatRevere

madeduringhislife.

WearefortunatethatMassachusetts

MasonsfeltaconnectionwithRevere

andsavedtheserelics,donatingthemto

theGrandLodge’sMuseumcollection.

Bythinkingaboutthehandsthat

craftedthesematerials,theyallowusto

learnaboutRevere’scontributionsto

FreemasonryandAmericanhistory.

Ifyouownanobject,engravingor

certificaterelatedtoPaulRevereand

wouldliketoconsiderdonatingtothe

NationalHeritageMuseum’scollection,

pleaseemailAimeeNewellat

anewell@monh.orgorcall781-457-4144.

Anumberofobjectsassociatedwith

PaulReverewillbepartoftheupcom-

ingexhibition,“SowingtheSeedsof

Liberty:LexingtonandtheAmerican

Revolution,”openinginAprilof2007at

theNationalHeritageMuseuminLex-

ington,MA.

Thisnewexhibitiontellsthestoryof

howextraordinarypatriotsandevery-

daypeopleshapedthecourseofthehis-

toryofAmerica.

MasterMasondiplomafor
JosephWallesJr.designedby
PaulRevere,issuedbyWarren
Lodgein1785.